In The Terror Dream: Fear & Fantasy in Post-9/11 America, Susan Falludi alleges that among the primary factors underlying USer gun goonery are two which, though reaching far back into historical time and circumstance, still were implanted so deeply in the psyche of the USer male as to constitute almost a separate epistemological sphere entirely.
(T)he nation that in recent memory has been least vulnerable to domestic attack is also a nation haunted by a centuries-long trauma of assault on its home soil. For nearly two hundred years, our central drama was not the invincibility of our frontiersmen but their inability to repel invasions of non-Christian, nonwhite "barbarians" from the homestead door. To conceal the insecurity bred by those attacks, American culture would generate an ironclad countermyth of cowboy swagger and feminine frailty, which has been reanimated whenever the nation feels threatened. On September 11, Americans were once again returned to an experience of homeland terror and humiliation. And, once again, they fled from self-knowledge and retreated into myth.In the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedies, which to some degree illustrate BOTH aspects of her thesis, Falludi argues that the cultural fealty to owning and possessing and shooting guns, especially among white males, stems from the fear borne by their ancestors of two, deadly events: "Indian" raids and slave revolts.
Throughout the colonial period, "settlers" expanding the Europeans' domain on the frontier were constant and fairly easy prey for tribal "insurgents" pushing back against the encroachments of the whites. Save the last bullet for your wife or girl-child.
The fear of slave revolts have recently been shown to have played a large role in the existence and drafting of the Second Amendment.
At any rate, firearms seem to be an almost exclusively White, Male preoccupation. People of color, who might conceivably have experience with the usefulness of firearms in community defense, not so much--though they may just be remaining tactically silent about it.
I was raised around weapons. I had a .22 at age 13. I was not a hunter, but I had a knack for shooting. I shot expert marksman on worn-out, range-battered .30cal carbines in the Air Force in 1964. On a bet one time, I shot a magpie out of the air with a .22, at about 100 yards. I won $50, but I still see that poor damn bird falling. That's the only critter I ever killed with a gun, and I still regret it.